As planners, we want to help our clients prepare for every possible scenario. The past couple weeks with COVID-19 have been overwhelming and challenged us with a scenario we could have never prepared for. With each day bringing new information and leaving a lot of uncertainty for the upcoming Wedding season, we have been navigating each situation with our clients uniquely to make the best decision for them. We know there are a lot of brides out there who do not have a Wedding Planner, so we wanted to share our process for navigating our couples through this difficult time and offer some tips to hopefully bring a little stress relief.
Step 1. Breathe
Yep - I know you're skipping over this because everything is telling you to do this. If one more person tells you it will be okay you probably want to hit them over the head. You are fully entitled to all the emotions you are going through and let yourself feel them. It's an overwhelming situation and you are allowed to feel overwhelmed. Take a deep breath, look at your fiance, and take it as another challenge you will overcome together.
Step 2. What's your Priority?
The first thing I have been asking my clients is - what's your priority? Did you fall in love with your venue and can't think about getting married anywhere else? Is your photographer someone you waited years to work with? Think about these because they will huge parts of setting a new date and ensuring you can still have the Wedding you want!
Step 3. Should you Postpone?
The million dollar question. We cannot answer this for you, but we can give you some things to consider:
Is there a government mandate affecting your Wedding?
The decision may be out of your hands anyway! If there is a recommendation from the government to cancel/postpone events of a certain number of people during a certain amount of time, please abide by this. Waiting until the last minute may end you up with a cancellation and more stress.
Where are your guests traveling from?
Do you have a lot of international guests? It mostly likely will be a longer period of time before they will be able to travel to the US. If it's important to you that they be there, definitely consider postponing.
Is it worth the peace of mind?
If you feel you are going to wake up everyday with a knot in your stomach thinking about if you should postpone your Wedding, postpone it. The peace of mind will be worth it. Silver lining? The further from this situation we are, the more guests will be focused on you on your Wedding day and not distracted by what's going on in the news.
Step 4. Okay, you decided - now what?
Reach out to your venue and check their current policies on postponements. Some venues are allowing postponements of any date while others are only operating within the dates provided by the CDC. Check and see how they are operating and what available dates they will offer to you. How Far is Far Enough? It's impossible for us to answer this question unfortunately. We are not medical experts. However right now, we are comfortably rebooking for August and later.
Send an email to all your vendors letting them know you are so sorry but you have decided to postpone for the safety and well-being of your family and friends. Let them know the new date and that you are eager to have all the same vendors. Vendors are going through A LOT right now as well, so patience and understanding will be greatly appreciated.
Step 5. How to Tell Your Guests
If you have already sent out invitations, evaluate the best way to communicate the new date to your guests. The easiest thing for you to manage would certainly be sending everyone an email and asking them to submit a new RSVP through your Wedding website. Another method that's a little more formal and provides a keepsake is sending a postcard to everyone with the new date. If they have a change to their RSVP tell them to contact you. No need to re-print your entire stationary set unless you want an updated one as a keepsake.
Step 6. Other Helpful Things to Consider
Do not forget about your hotel blocks. If a lot of guests are traveling to your Wedding location, make sure there is hotel availability before postponing!
If you find yourself in a situation where lots of people are texting you asking if your Wedding is still on, draft a Note on your phone that you can copy and paste as a response and save yourself the emotional roller coaster each time.
Remember what is important! You and your fiance are going to have the rest of your lives together to celebrate! Your Wedding is about your love and your new journey ahead. Hosting a smaller ceremony on the initial date with just close family and following up with a larger Wedding later on when you are able to get a date is TOTALLY FINE! Do whatever feels right to you.
Lean on your vendors. We are just as overwhelmed by all of this as you, but lean on us for guidance and support when navigating this unchartered territory. Understanding and kindness will get you a long way!